Discursive Approaches to Public Policy: Politics, Argumentation, and Deliberation

  • Anna Durnova
  • Frank Fischer
  • Philippe Zittoun
Part of the International Series on Public Policy book series (ISPP)


Over the last two decades, the so-called discursive paradigm has emerged in both Europe and the USA to analyze policy and grasp policy processes differently. Rejecting the dominance of rational choice theory and condemning the illusion of an objective knowledge for and on policy, this paradigm draws inspiration from the “linguistic turn” in philosophy and the social sciences and builds on constructivist perspectives in social inquiry. The “discursive” approach pays particular attention to the subjectivity of actors; the forms of knowledge these actors assemble; and, in particular, the multiple interpretations they deploy to create meaning. This chapter presents three aspects: the basic acknowledgment that policy is about political argumentation, that argumentation is a deep epistemological issue that changes mainstream objectivism, and that argumentation requires placing interpretation and emotion back into the research agenda.


Policy Analysis Policy Process Railway Station Policy Proposal Discursive Practice 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anna Durnova
    • 1
  • Frank Fischer
    • 2
  • Philippe Zittoun
    • 3
  1. 1.University of ViennaViennaAustria
  2. 2.University of Kassel and Rutgers UniversityKasselGermany
  3. 3.LAET-ENTPEUniversity of LyonLyonFrance

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